One of the biggest songs of 2018 was Ariana Grande's single "Thank U, Next." But what you might not know about the hit is that Ariana Grande recorded different versions of "Thank U, Next." Imagining anything other than the bop known today is a bit odd, considering the current version is so recognizable, but because of the public nature of her relationships she recorded different variations in case she didn't want to name drop her exes.
While appearing on the Zach Sang Show on Feb. 9, Grande talked extensively about her new album Thank U, Next and shared some interesting facts about the single of the same name. The interview is almost an hour and a half — and if you're a Grande fan, it's a great one to watch all the way through — but at around the 10 minute mark, she starts talking about the song.
Grande said she recorded the version fans know and love today first, with the names of her exes Big Sean, Ricky Alvarez, Pete Davidson, and Mac Miller. She recalled that she slept on it then came back to record another take without the names. "Me, as I was doing it, was like, 'This is not the version,'" she said about the other incarnations of the now iconic song.
Despite knowing the other versions didn't work, she said she was recording the song without her exes names to try to be "protective." She said, "In my relationship [with Pete] at the time, things were like up and down and on and off, and so I didn't know what was going to happen and then we got back together, so I had to make a different version of it, and then we broke up again, so we ended up going with that verse."
"There's a version where I was getting married, there's a version where I'm not getting married, there's a version with nothing—we're not talking about anything. But we all knew that the first version was gonna be the version we ultimately went with."
Grande also went on to talk about the risks of recording "Thank U, Next." "It was a big risk and a very scary thing to do, because it is my life," she explained. "I understand that to a lot of people, I'm not a real person, or it's easy to just kind of like see me as like, a song or a picture or like a thing that kind of exists in their head and they know what they know and that's it. But at the end of the day, these are people and relationships. It's real sh*t to me. It is real life and I spent a lot of time with each of those people...it was like scary to put in a song."
While everyone that she's "still in touch with" has been supportive about being named in the song, her mother was maybe its biggest fan from the moment she heard it. "My mom was like— she's never been happier," she said. "My mom was like, 'Oh this is just the best song I've ever heard in my life.' 'Cause anybody who knows me knows how Joan Grande has felt about every relationship I've ever been in. And she has been so supportive, and patient, and bit her tongue, and you know been a fantastic mother."
Their relationship is definitely one of the most important in Grande's life, so for her mom to love the song so much seemed to really touch the singer. "That song is for my mom's closure, and also as a thank you to her, helping me through a lot of this sh*t," the "God Is a Woman" singer said. "And searching so desperately for what I feel parts of my childhood lacked. It was just a beautiful moment for her. My mom cried."
Grande's "Thank U, Next" journey is so much more involved that it appeared on the surface, but by not being afraid to get personal she created a song that spoke to her fans on a deeper level. And that's something she can always be proud of.